The question whether communicating is about confidence or the other way round loses relevance when the Mission I AM team shows that the two always go hand in hand.
After organising workshops in schools, colleges, and corporates to develop communication skills and personality, the Delhi-based team has corroborated the belief that confidence dictates the ability to communicate. It also works vice versa. Being able to express personal opinions and emotions, delivering good arguments, and engaging with audiences also boosts self confidence.
Mission I AM’s Co-founders Arun Mittal and Ira Aggarwal both have a degree in engineering and both had worked for Deloitte before starting up. Despite similar backgrounds, they differ hugely when it comes to speaking in public. While Arun never enjoyed speaking; Ira loved it. “She is a chatterbox who has something to say about everything,” smiles Arun.
However, opposite natures complement each other. “I was a topper; my grades were more than fine. What disturbed me most was the inability to go beyond a good performance,” he says. “When we had to represent our college in conferences or other events I could not participate because of my poor communication skills.” Incidentally, almost 90 per cent of college students and several young professionals face the same problem.
The team explains that often the labels that we are given do not correspond to who we really are; yet, they compromise the way we understand ourselves. “For example, if a child is labelled as an ‘introvert’, in most cases he would have problem to communicate because, even if he is perfectly able to express himself, his relatives and peers negate his skill and the child will grow up believing so” says Arun.
This is where the ‘I AM’ concepts comes in. “Our aim is to bridge the gap between who you are and who you want to be,” explains Arun. “The word ‘mission’ refers to the journey to achieve this goal; ‘I AM’ has got a beautiful positive meaning because it is linked to personal identity; the fact that one actually is and not just dreams of being.”
Mission I AM focuses on different types of skill enhancements including re-discovery of inner self, body language, phonetics, foreign languages and more. The team also works on creating an environment where one can practice the art of communication. “We promote sports and fitness (sports leagues, zumba, yoga etc) as well as recreational activities like photography,” says Arun.
Mission I AM started four months ago and it already has 17 workshops scheduled in the next few months. The startup has also reached break-even and counts on being profitable in six months. Their team has rapidly grown from two to 10 and includes a self improvement trainer, marketing and sales staff and web designers. In the next 60 days the plan is to call on board 13 interns as well.
Mission I AM has an office in Ashok Vihar. “Soon we are going to launch online courses because once we scale up, it would be impossible to be physically present everywhere,” says Arun. The fee charged will always remain very affordable, he promises. “We charge Rs 900-1000 per student for a 10-15 hrs workshop”
The team is dreaming of expanding in every Indian state, even though challenges are being faced, especially in schools. “The curriculum is so tight that we can hardly fit in a few hours of workshops,” points out Arun, “However, we have been in touch with some school principals who are planning to incorporate communication skills which will allow us to spend valuable time with students.”
The Mission I AM team is getting rewarding feedback from students they have worked with. “I have recently come back from a college where we run the workshop and a girl, who used to communicate through notes, talked to me with such ease and enjoyment that I could not believe it myself,” smiles Arun.
Learn more about Mission I AM on their website